cunt toward enemy[13] terrorism is magic

There is a minefield in Golan Heights.

A pack of wolves lives among them, too light to trigger the sensors.

If they leave the minefield, they will be shot.

If the mines are removed, their ecosystem will be destroyed. And they will be shot.

Your paw on my sensor. Lithe, watchful. Just delicate enough to keep yourself alive. As long as you don’t push too hard.


Rubicon clings naked to the damp body, his finger wiggling inside a bullet hole. His bony legs kneel on either side, his toes curling, what’s left of them. The sun is starting to creep into the room, hot with the smell of gunpowder. His soles are blinding, two side-view mirrors.

He bites into the dummy’s head. It breaks apart in his mouth, 280 bloom gelatin hydrolyzed from pig skin. He spits out a bullet. Keeps chewing. His saliva trickles through the perforated skull, an ant farm for high-caliber ammunition.

You did this to me. Your need for control. It ruined my body. And you don’t even see how suffocating you are.

The ballistic gel is starting to smell. Rubbing, sweating, sleeping with it. Night terrors. Wet explosions. He grinds his blastrated crotch into the dummy’s face. The sun grows hot on his scars, back like smoked glass. The gel fills with dreamy light, a body of crystalline water. Bullet trajectories are revealed like spurts of ocean spray.

There is a black cloud in the crotch, and the face, and all throughout the blow-up doll, (KABOOM), the mold of his moisture, the closest he’s come to a living thing in days. No one comes inside. His bedroom is a shooting range. He’d rather piss on the floor and drink Ensure out of a bowl than have the aides touch him with their healthy bodies, with their pity or disgust or mere perfunctory maintenance.

The dummy quivers passionately, shouting barking BANG BANG BANG, bullets flood the crotch. A handgun dangles from his foot, big toe filling the trigger guard. His leg is arched like a dog pissing toward the ceiling, exposing scarred thigh all the way down to his razed ass, one eye clenched, the other red and sighting.

He collapses on the dummy, his small battery depleted, gun dragging between his toes. The gel burns with his body heat, slimy and stinking. He kisses the riddled head, feeding the black cloud with his drool.

My sweet dummy. I hope you can survive me.


Lazur smokes a preroll in the stairwell, tablet balanced on his knee.

The machine is closing around him. He knows this. Not just from his unusual interactions with the hyper-terrorist community, but the cosmos itself.

America is a machine for destroying the world’s information. The great Continent, the Moloch Pangaea, which must absorb all things into itself. The two halves of his identity, Semi Novan, Lechian, whatever, are ways of organizing information for capital. It doesn’t matter if the information isn’t real. What matters is that the machine makes it true. Until nothing is left but a tomb of paper.

The two halves of his identity and all their marketable sub-compartments are goop poured over the wires of the world. And the thing called PTSD is stuck inside him like a wire in a candle. The burning, subhuman reality-monitor.

But he has a way out.

A way to become safe.

Rubicon says, “I love when you do drugs. You always make bad decisions.”

Lazur stares at his bad decision. Rubicon shimmers in the hybrid haze, glittering with indica-dominant sparkles. Scars melt subtly into each other. Ripples of heat distortion. You’re so fucking hot.

Did someone walk past?

Echo from another stairwell. But it has him shielding his tablet, preemptively justifying himself. Just talking to my disabled nephew. He’s a patriot. Got blasted to hell.

What if the agency finds out?

We’ve noticed sexual undertones to your relationship. Yessir. Him craving my dick is a matter of national security. Don’t worry. He would fail utterly. The technique of a baby. A weak, toothy baby. One of those failed babies.

“What are you laughing at?”

“Just you.”

Just enjoying those fine shattered kneecaps of yours.
Is there something wrong with me?
Some people are ass men.
Some people are breast men.
I’m a cripple men. Monster High looking freak. Color-coded anorexic cunt. They should institute gift giving on the 4th of July. Giftwrapped amputees. Melted quads in a box. It would really make the holiday hit home.

Rubicon talks a lot. He sounds even sloppier now, letting his guard down. But Lazur is learning a new language. He understands the wet suck and smack of that mouth. It gives him a pang, for some reason.

He tunes back in. Rubicon is saying, “Fundamentally, I’m a guy who does something, and you’re a guy who says don’t do that thing.”

Smoke trails from Lazur’s mouth. “That’s that dad thing?”

“Not gonna lie, the fact that you have a high-ranking government apparatus behind you is kind of a turn on.”

“I’m only an authoritarian for you, Rubi.”

“What was your dad like?”

Lazur considers. “My dad. He wasn’t a bad dad. But when I grew up. Thought about it. A lot of the shit he said was illogical. It was a private neurosis. And I took it as gospel.” Coughing. “This legal weed is dogshit.”

“Wish you were here. I have these superterrorist gummies that are insane.”

“I bet they are.”

Rubicon thumbs his morphine button. “I’d share my drip with you. Would you like that? Knowing your high came from my pain?”

“Like there’s a limited amount of happiness in the universe.”

“It’s so cute when you try to give me your private neuroses.”

The morphine hits and Rubicon flops back in his wheelchair. Through heavy lids, he catches Lazur looking at the dark triangle of his skirt, lacerations growing from it like ivy. Slack smile. “I used to think you’d never date someone like me. Now I wonder if you’d date me if I didn’t look like this.” He spreads his legs weakly, pushing them with his hands. “You like these atrophied limbs? Fucking chaser.”

“Can’t chase what can’t run.”

A little happiness, a chemical attack. The kind where you don’t remember what you were talking about, because it doesn’t matter. No hands on faces, just naked dials.

Rubicon says, “Whatcha smoking?”

“Smoking that Twilight Sparkle.”

“Terrorism is magic.”

Flashback to counter-terrorism studies. College reading. The Psychodynamics of Terrorism.

Terrorism is magic: it is thought to produce its effect no matter what, and all by itself. There are no causal linkages to be traced, as in the case of genuine military operations.

Rubicon would have been 8 or 9.

Terror is first of all a kind of symbol-magic. Reciting the magic formula or pronouncing the magic name puts irresistible powers at our disposal.


Throughout, a low key is to be maintained; terrorism is reinforced by the emotional excitement it can produce. Heightened suspense, anxiety, horror, moral outrage, and the like, contribute to what the terrorist experiences as consummation, just as do approval and admiration. What terrorists want to be able to say is, “I didn’t know you cared.” They are disheartened only when they can no longer mistake for emotional involvement with them what is only our concern about the victim.

I didn’t know you cared.

He takes another hit, inhaling smoke like an explosion in reverse. The watch on his wrist is the watch he wore as a child. Blue plastic. Clocks melt together, the Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, regimented rectangles like city blocks or caskets, atom bombs flowing like schools of fish, while the real fish is alone, detailed, inert. Only the dead can be captured so clearly.

Use separate rows for US, multinational partners, and adversary dead.

Noise from the street flows past him. Civilian combustions and crosswalk countdowns. The sky he can’t see through the concrete vents, just a chained-up tree quivering like an old faggot.

There’s a feather on the step, flapping in the breeze but not coming loose. A dark avian paste, stuck since the 4th of the July. He wonders what his final configuration will be. What aesthetic school his chunks will be arranged in.

He laughs.

Rubicon says, “What?”

“I was just thinking. If they found us. Like those skeletons buried in the same grave. They’d think what the fuck is that. Is that two dogs and a man. Did he die fucking Rainbow Dash. My little cousin loves that shit. I hope she’s doing okay.”

“Buried in the same grave?”

“Yeah, my normal bones and your crazy bones—”

“That’s so fucking romantic.”

“I didn’t mean it that way.”

“How the fuck did you mean it.”

“Like if we killed each other.”

“You’re just making it worse.”

The victims of terror are usually anonymous, nobodies in the terrorists’ eyes, such as terrorists themselves once were. The victims may also be, on the contrary, notable, deliberately selected to symbolize the terrorists’ ruthlessness and power. We might call such victims the glamorous victims.

Your glamorous victim. Suffering under your mutilated cat stare.

If the anonymous victim represents the terrorist’s past, the glamorous victim may serve as his or her ego-ideal for the future. Like imitation, violence, too, may be a form of flattery.

Rubicon says, “I wanna see your face. Get it up to the lens.”

Terrorism may provide for the terrorist a sense of intimacy with both target and victim.

“I wonder if I’m one of those little lines next to your eye. A private little scar.”

“This is emotional terrorism.”

“I got the other kind too.”

Wind flaps the skirt. The shadows of leaves mix with the shadow of a bomb.

Rubicon says, “I’m sick of this LDR.”

“LDR?” Is that the name of a president?

“Lazur Distance Rubicon.”


“I hate these fucking orange trees. They smell so good and taste so good but I know it’s only a fraction of what it used to be. And I can’t stand that. I’d like to burn them all down. But Cal likes them. I think.” He studies Lazur’s face. “You’re scared. It’s okay. I think he’s got that analysis paralysis.”

Lazur is encouraged. “What’s his next move?”

“I can’t give you information that would hurt him. Do you think I’m stupid? Am I just a pretty face to you?”

“I’m not trying to insult you.”

“I know, baby. But you fucked up.” Rubicon picks at the exposed grimace of his teeth. “Just kidding.”

The tablet is sweaty in Lazur’s grip. Even across the world, he can’t escape the physical reaction. He hefts the tablet to keep it from falling. If he slips, Rubicon cracks.

“It’s okay, Laz. I worked it out. A new world is coming. And in that new world, I get to keep you.”

“Like Noah’s ark.”

“Yeah. If the ark had one guy in it.”

“Is that what love means to you?”

“Why not?”

“It makes sense. Your dad kept you all alone in that big mansion. And now you live with his friend. In another mansion.”

“This has nothing to do with my dad.”

“I don’t know, Rubi. Maybe it has everything to do with your dad.”

“You’re jealous of Cal.”

“No. It’s just. It’s obvious you think he’s going to win.”

“Cal kills people. You don’t.”

“There are legal avenues.”

“I prefer mass casualty boulevards.”

“I just…”

How can he explain it? Rubicon’s wound is fresh. Lazur’s is the pain of becoming used to loneliness and having the wound reopened.

A tear falls. He doesn’t think Rubicon can see it through the webcam fuzz, because the boy is still talking.

“Cal just wants power like everyone else. He’s not going to nuke your mom or whatever.”

A notification appears. Location decrypted. The place where orange trees grow. The place where Cal will be arrested.

No matter what Cal has, he is a corporation. A private citizen. He can’t stand against a government. He could possess a nuclear warhead and it wouldn’t matter. He will become pieces of paper, and he will be incinerated by dragons, because he sought to steal their fire.

Rubicon says, “Are you listening?”

Lazur smiles like he only can when he feels safe. “Yes.”


Greenwich meditates on the nature of the qatar.

There are two ways the qatar expresses itself. These correspond to dread and terror.

It acts slowly, so you may behold it with the majesty of dread.

Or instantly, turning your body into a mere echo of this terror.

Her gums itch. They fixed her teeth, but her body is still cleansing itself. It doesn’t matter.

Physical therapy is improving her mobility. It’s not enough.

She steals a pen. Hides it under her mattress. It’s not enough.

She will steal a gun. It’s not enough.

The door opens and she reaches for the pen.

It’s Lazur. They talk for some time. She pretends to be slowed by painkillers, so she can study him.

He’s a virgin.

Of course, there isn’t a certain marker for someone who has killed. People contain infinite compartments. They can be laughing with the greatest innocence, then shoot you between the eyes. The destroyer lives in the same house as the child.


He brings her snacks. Green apple gum. The pack has a promo on it. Chance to win Zhyber Valhalla free gamepack with…

It hurts to chew. This is reasonable, given the state of her mouth. But she listens carefully for the hum of her weakness, the traitor in her nerves.

Zhyber Valhalla.

Darkness. Immobility. Violation. Separation from God. The perception of God. Her muscles still lack it. This is what scares her. This distortion.

She knows very little of Rubicon, but she knows what he looks like now. She wonders how badly a body can be damaged before it loses the capacity for faith. For love.

Rubicon. The name of Lazur’s weakness. He is good about covering it up, but she can tell. His pain is purple. It shows under his eyes. And when she says the R-word, he dances away too well, as he dances for nothing else. The methodical agent skips a second. How many moments has he stored away?

She can’t trust him.

She cups the empty pack of gum in her hand.

Zhyber Valhalla.

Free gamepack on purchase of.

A most excellent deal, if you are already a consumer of that brand.

Darkness. Burning oil. Eating at her scalp.

She crushes the pack.

Her heart throbs in her palm.

She opens it.

Zhyber Valhalla.

Free gamepack. Darkness. Chemical burns.

She unfolds the pack. The creases remain. Nothing can return it to the pristine state of a minute ago.



Unfold. Look at the damage.


Crush. Unfold. Zhyber Valhalla. Pain throbs in her skull.




Orange plastic. Red button. Blue paint. She names the colors in her environment.

Crush. Unfold.

There it is. The weakness. Tight in her fingers. Swelling in her neck artery. She places the trash in her mouth and swallows it.

Green apple.

The only trigger she will permit is steel.


The earth shakes in his dream. Bzzz. Bzzz.

He fumbles in the darkness next to his bed. The tablet lights up, blinding him. “What?”

“I can’t sleep. The painkillers wore off.”


“I had a dream about a dynamite fuse coming out of your pussy like a tampon.”

“My what?”

“Your vagina.”

“I don’t have a vagina.”

“Jesus, Lazur. TMI.”

“I’m trying to sleep.”

“Cal is asleep. You’re asleep. I picked the wrong fucking demographic to get involved with. You’re all so fucking tired.”

Well, if Cal is asleep. Lazur should be awake. He should be the opposite of everything Cal is. He rolls onto his stomach, suddenly alert. “He sleeps a lot, huh? Guess cosmetic surgery can’t fix his rotten fucking insides.”

“Haha. I do not sleep, Cortázar. I simply die for brief periods, and come back to life. The Olmec knew of this.”

“That’s exactly what he does. He does that thing with the concepts.”

“Tell me, Cortázar…are you familiar with the ancient Japanese art of kintsugi?”

“My genetics are too bad to know about smart stuff.”

“Just as I suspected. Kintsugi is the philosophy that when something is broken, it’s fucked forever and it sucks shit and everyone hates it.”

“I heard about that one.”

“You’re smiling.”

“It’s great because your mouth makes every impression you do the retard version of that person.”

“I’ll make you the retard version of you.”

“Too late.” Lazur watches colors flash across the scarred face. “What are you watching?”

“Let’s plays. This one is, uh. Suzuki Bakuhatsu. Never got translated. It’s about a normal, cute girl. Just living her life. And bombs appear in everyday objects. You’re literally the protagonist of this game.”



Lazur says, “What’s your favorite game?”

“Bomberman. Don’t laugh. Stop fucking laughing. I’ll kill you.”


“Bomberman 64. Good multiplayer, good minigames, good music. Did you play Super Bomberman 5? The evil guy, Terrorin, his face is a CLOCK.


PEACEFUL BOMBER WORLD. Let that soak in…”

“Sounds very peaceful.”

“It’s a utopia!”


“Look. The original Bomberman. He was just some robot forced to make bombs. He was a slave. A bomb slave.

Hold on. I’m reading the wiki. Shut up.

The European home computer versions were released as Eric and the Floaters to avoid any association with a series of terrorist bombings carried out by the Irish Republican Army during The Troubles.[12]

I bought a NES from a pawn shop with my allowance. Set it up in the basement, surrounded by my mom’s antiques, all these old flammable things, I could see the combustion potential of everything I looked at. And I would play Bomberman. I still have the manual. See?”

Rubicon holds up the OPERATION MANUAL, and loose pages fall out. He kneels over them, squinting.

“Thank you! You have just made a perfect choice by selecting and purchasing the quality Hudson Soft product! Ummmm. Warning! Warning! Warning! Avoid hard shocks. Soiled connectors can cause system breakdown.”


Bomberman is a robot engaged in the production of bombs. Like his fellow robots, he had been put to work in an underground compound by evil forces. Bomberman found it to be an unbearably dreary existence. One day, he heard an encouraging rumor. According to the rumor, any robot that could escape the underground compound and make it to the surface could become human. Bomberman leaped at the opportunity, but escape proved to be no small task. Alerted to Bomberman’s betrayal, large numbers of the enemy set out in pursuit. Bomberman can rely only on bombs of his own production for his defense. Will he ever make it up to the surface? Once there, will he really become human?


“Try to use recorded secret codes to restore a game. Hmmmm. Do all character input carefully, because a single error will make it necessary to start over from the beginning. Are you getting this, Laz?”


“I need another pet name for you, now that we’re such great friends. Maybe something like Idiot Fuck Carcass.”

“I was just about to say.”

Rubicon goes back to reading the manual. “During the course of a game, players may discover new technics, hidden characters, and other features not covered in this manual. These are part of the challenge of this game and it’s up to the player to work them out. Good, uh—look what it says here.”

Good- Luck !

“Isn’t that special? I can’t play anymore because of my fingers. But if you beat it. Which I did. You get an ending screen, and it says—”

You have succeeded in helping bomberman to become a human being

Laying in the dark. Night through the window. Light through the tablet. A siren grows and fades. A boy falling asleep in a puddle of pages.

“Maybe you could play it for me sometime.”

Lazur holds up his hand, displaying five intact fingers. “Okay.”


It’s going to be a beautiful day. The nerve agent in Lazur’s brain tells him so.

Dawn. Parking lot of XGILEAD. The sun has not yet hit the windshields. All is visible, yet cool and serene, without volatile optic effects.

He enters the structure. He carries a milk tea, 100% sweetness. He greets the receptionist (who just came back from maternity leave), and nods to a colleague who once gave him a jumper cable boost.

Why was he ever afraid of elevators? A microcosm of life, traveling in the steel chamber of your ego. There are lonely times when you see nothing outside yourself, only your reflection on the glass ceiling, waiting for a number to go up. Then the protective steel slides open and new people come inside. Some stay for a brief time. Others are going all the way up to the top. We’re all brought together, despite our differences. Just humans trying to get by.

In this compact space, small acts of personality become visible. Nail polish in a non-neutral color, an aggressive cologne, or like him, hair a little longer than regulation. It’s all so beautiful and human and everyone is doing their best.

He enters Greenwich’s room and gives her a black tea, zero sweetness. They talk. Tomorrow, her statement will be recorded, and become a legal document. Her voice is still raspy. It will be good for the recording, and play well if it comes to trial.

He will argue that immediate detention is necessary, to keep military secrets from being sold to other nations. Calendula will be arrested. And Lazur will win.


Driving home through a stretch of trees.

His phone vibrates. “Rubi.”

“How’d you guess?”

“I can hear the saliva hitting the receiver.”

“Hehghghgj. Yeah. Sorry about that. Wow. It’s my friend Laz. My special friend. My special male friend.” His voice has a morphine slur.

“I’m driving.”

“It’s okay, Laz. You don’t have to be sad anymore. Everything is going to be okay.”

“I’ll call you when I get home—”

“She’s dead. So it doesn’t matter anymore.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Cal told me. She’s dead. So there’s no evidence. You’re not a threat.”

The lines of the road disappear under the car. Clouds travel through bits of glass.

“Just leave it alone—”

Tires screech as Lazur turns around, pedal crushed to the floor.

4 grubs honk balefully on “cunt toward enemy[13] terrorism is magic

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